My family has been a longtime supporter of the Animal Care League No Kill Shelter. The Chatka Ruggiero Spay and Neuter Clinic is named after my mother. Every year, my wife Isla and her friend Connie Irwin go around to local businesses to secure donations for the annual ACL Spring Luncheon. Every year they feature a few of the shelter pets. 

This past spring, my wife came home and talked about Muggles, a featured shelter shih tzu, and she wanted to bring him home for us to foster. Then she told me he was blind. His eyes had been surgically removed because of severe glaucoma. 

Why on earth would we want a blind dog, I thought? We talked about it and I reluctantly agreed to give him a try. We already had a black lab named Whip, 16 years old, but in good health. 

When Muggles arrived, he came with medication and a special diet. We developed a routine over the next couple of weeks for feeding, taking him out, and watching him. We would tap him on the side a few times so he knew when he was being picked-up and put down. We learned his special bark code: loud a few times he wanted to go out. Lower barks when the room was quiet and he wanted somebody to touch him so he knew he was not alone. He would also make small grunts when he was happy, being petted, scratched behind the ears, or carried around on our shoulders. 

A few weeks passed and I had to make a decision. Then I realized we were the perfect fit for him. Everyone in the family loved the little guy and we were able to give him the attention and care he needed. 

If we gave him back, chances were slim he would ever be adopted. So I went to the Animal Care League and filled out the adoption paperwork. All the staff and volunteers asked about Muggles and I could honestly tell them he was doing well. He gets to go on long stroller rides in the neighborhood, little black nose perked up sniffing the air. As I am typing this, he’s lying down about 6 feet away. 

Oops, there’s the bark code; I have to go scratch him behind the ears. 

Yes, Muggles is home.

Emerson Bolen

River Forest

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